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Showing posts from April, 2013

The Zealous Army Volunteer

The Daddy lived in Honolulu, Hawaii when World War II began. He was getting his hair cut the morning that Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. (I write about that here.) In April, 1942, he signed up for the U.S. Army.

It was a Sunday afternoon. The Daddy was hanging out with a friend in Ala Moana Park. 

"Compadre, let's join the army," his friend said, seeing the army recruiting truck parked nearby. "I'm going now."

“You go yourself,” the Daddy answered, thinking about how good the wages had become. He was making a dollar an hour. "I'm working tonight."

“I’m going” his friend said.

“Go ahead.” 

His friend ran to the truck and jumped on. The Daddy watched as more men jumped onto the truck. Soon, another truck stopped and parked. More men ran and jumped onto that truck. Before he realized it, the Daddy ran and jumped on the second truck, too. 

Said the Daddy:
They took us to the camp. They gave us clothes. After they fed us, they had us exercis…

Yes, Yeah, Yep.

"Yes!"
". . .We have no bananas. We have no bananas today. . . ."

I like that song a lot. It was written for a Broadway revue in 1922 and became a hit the following year for Eddie Cantor, according to Wikipedia. I first heard it in an old-time cartoon that I saw on TV when I was a kid. I love those cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. They introduced me to old ditties such as "Yes! We have no bananas." and "Mairzy Doats and Dozey Doats" as well as classical and jazz music. Today, cartoons will flash through my mind when I suddenly hear certain classical or jazz songs.

Yeah.
So, here we are—the letter "Y". Tomorrow, Zeee. The next day, zzzzzzzz! on the blog. Just kidding. Maybe.

As I'm writing this post, I hear in the near distance the sound of seals barking.  Yawp, yawp, yawp! But, here's the thing. I live about 25 miles from the ocean, if I was a crow.

Yep.
Halfway through the A to Z Blogging Challenge, Rhonda at Dizzy Stir nominate…

Turn Right at the Xerox Machine

This post was originally written on September 23, 2010 and published on my previous blog, This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then.

A Special 23rd Date Fourteen years ago, about the same time as I'm writing this, I'm getting food ready for the next day's festivity. Getting married to the husband, it was.

Fourteen years ago, about an hour or so from now, I will have finally laid down beside a very anxious husband-to-be. He would be so anxious, he would not be able to sleep. And, that would mean I would not get to sleep.

"We can still call it off," I will have said.

"No, we can't," he will have replied.

"Yes, we can."

"No, we can't. People are coming."

"We can call them up first thing in the morning."

"No, we can't."

"Yes, we can."

"You've already made the food."

"I can put it in the freezer."

"We don't have to get married," I will have said.

"We al…

War!

December 7, 1941
Honolulu, Hawaii

Clip. Clip. Clip.

The Daddy's cousin was cutting Daddy's hair in their kitchen. They talked about this and that when suddenly they heard  in the near distance Boom! Boom! Boom!

"Hurry up," said the Daddy. "Something is happening at the harbor. Let's go see what's wrong."

December 8, 1941
Baguio, Philippines

At the same moment, thousands of miles to the east, the Japanese Navy Air pilots were bombarding the U.S. bases in the Philippines,  a U.S. territory. The Mama was staying in Baguio, a mountain town, where the John Hay Air Base was located. The town was immediately evacuated.

The Mama said it took her and her family about a month to walk their way down the mountain to their home in Pangasinan, a province in Central Luzon.

Verily, Molly the Cat

Yesterday afternoon, while the Husband and I worked in the Mama's garden, Molly the Cat walked along the fence. We didn't know what she had been up to until the Husband went looking for her. He found her heading down a connecting fence. Fortunately, she turned around when he called to her.  He took her off the fence, put her down on the ground, and followed her to the house all the while praising her for a job well done. After she went inside the house, the Husband shut the door.

Molly the Cat rested beside the screen door and watched  us hammer poles into the ground, untangle wire fencing, and attach the wire between poles for vegetables to climb up and up. She did not say a word unlike the neighborhood dogs when they want their way.

When the  Husband and I came to the screen door, Molly the Cat sat up.

First, she looked adoringly at the Husband.


 Then, she looked at me.




The Upside-Down Cat

"Seriously. Another photo."

I think that's what Molly the Cat would say if she could speak.

"I suppose you're telling stories about me."

Yep. I surely have. If you'd like to read a post or two, click over to Missy Molly by Golly.



A Never-too-Late Tunic

In April of last year, I stumbled upon a handsome batik-like print with ukuleles. Immediately, I thought, "An Hawaiian shirt for the Husband!" Without giving it another thought, I bought 2 yards of the fabric. I didn't care that I hadn't ever sewn a shirt before. When the Husband saw the print, he was just as excited as me about the idea of a Hawaiian shirt for him.

Throughout May, I looked at patterns online. The thought of sewing collars, yokes, and buttons made my hands sweat. I needed to turn this shirt into something fun to sew.

"What do you think about a tunic?" I asked the Husband.

The Husband went into a happy place as he described a Mexican tunic he once owned when he was a young man. How comfortable it was. How neat it looked. And so on, and so forth.

In June, for his birthday, I gave the Husband a written promise of a hand-sewn tunic in the ukulele print. Over the summer, I kept my eyes open for the perfect tunic pattern.

By September, or maybe it w…

First Time Skating

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"What is that noise?" I imagine the Pop of the mom-and-pop grocery store said.

The Mom walked over to the front window and laughed (so I conjecture).

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"What is it?"


Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

"That darling little chubby girl is skating."

"On what? Cans?"

"Yes."

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

I was probably 6 or 7 years old when I skated for the first time. With each foot snugly encased in a crushed beer can, I slowly made my way around the bend of the gravel driveway to the road and along the shoulder.  I crossed in front of the mom-and-pop store with the goal of reaching the stop sign. There I rested for a long while.  Most likely I wished I had a nickel for a candy bar or maybe a dime for a bottle of Nehi soda. Skating was more work than I thought it would be.

Up, I stood, and took off again. It was just a few yards down the side of the store to the other end of the gravel dr…

Rock Faces & Figures

Did you think I was going to talk about rock and roll stars? Hahaha. Nope.

I'm talking about actual rocks. Granite—or are they basalt?—rocks that edge the ocean shorelines, to be precise. But, my question can be about rock formations anywhere. That question: Do you ever see faces in rocks? How about figures?

Here's what I saw at the rocky shoreline in Monterey recently.





Quitting Time

Come August I shall be celebrating my 27th anniversary at my job. I doubt the Boss will give me a gift of money or even a lousy pen to show her appreciation. The Boss is cheap. Yeah, I said it. C-h-e-a-p. Cheap. But, then, you see, the Boss is me. 

Like everyone else, I've had quite a few jobs during my life. Some jobs were temporary. I liked those. I knew when the ending would be. No fuss, no muss.  As for the jobs from which I resigned, okay, quit, I had gone as far I wanted and needed to go with them.

Cutting apricots was my first paying job. It was also the first job I quit. I was nine years old.

The job entailed cutting apricots in half, pulling out the pits, and laying them on a wooden tray bigger than a kitchen table. When the tray was filled neatly with halved apricots, it was placed out in the sun for the fruit to dry. I think I got 75 cents a tray.  Yeah, I know, a pittance. This was the early 1960s.

I don't remember how many trays I was able to fill in a day, or…

Pshaw! The Persnickety Letter P

The letter P!

I crumpled up three ideas for that proud, pretty letter P. Figuratively, that is. I'm not going to crush my computer just because I don't like what I wrote in a Word file. What? You don't know what crumple is? Egad, I'm that old. Get a piece of scratch paper and write half a sentence. Now, scrunch up the paper. There, you've crumpled up an idea.

Anyway, the letter pah pah pah pah P. It's perfect that procrastinate starts with the letter P. Oh, and then there is perfect. . . . Perfect procrastination prances prickly for Poseiden. Huh? No, I'm not deleting that. This post has taken possession of my fingers upon the keyboard and clicking keys per its bidding. Anyone else like the combination of parsnips and potatoes?

Okay, okay.  Third paragraph and I have yet to bring up a topic. Poor writing on my part. Perhaps. The other way for me—and you, dear readers—to look at my runaway paragraphs is that sometimes I need to be a little bit. . .a lot. .…

Walking on the Ancient Ocean Floor

A couple weeks ago, some of us young "old fogeys" took our merry selves to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, California, about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco. This park overlooks the Carquinez Strait, an estuary of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, which drains into the San Francisco Bay. It is a beautiful place to picnic, hike, and check out nature.

Once upon a time, hundreds of millions of years ago, the area was under an ancient sea. And over millions upon millions of years, wondrously wonderful earth changes built up the sandstone hills as well as crushed living matter between layers of rock to form black diamonds. During the last half of the 19th century, the Black Diamond mines were the largest coal mines in California, and from the 1920s to the 1940s,  white silica sand was mined out of the sandstone hills for the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company in Oakland.  

We, young "old fogeys" took a tour of the Hazel-Atlas Mine that afternoon…

A Native of Hollister, California

No, I'm not talking about the store. Nor am I talking about the fake beach town that the company that owns the store imagined.

Yes, folks, Hollister, California does exist. It is a small city in the middle of farmlands and nature.


I was born and raised here. I graduated from the local high school, which has as a mascot a Haybaler, the farmer who bales hay, not the hay baling machine. While in high school, I wrote a newspaper column called...are you ready?...The Baling Wire.

After a couple of years at the local community college, I transferred to San Francisco State University and lived in the City for many years. When the Husband and I got together, we lived in cities across the Bay until we move to Hollister. This summer will mark our 10th year living here and with the Mama. She is the reason we moved down.

Do I miss living in a metropolis?  Only when I want to eat out, see a movie, or browse in a bookstore.

How does the husband feel about living here? Ever since I've known…

The Miracle Tree

The First Husband gave the Mama a package of seeds that a Native American tribe had sent him as part of a fundraising campaign. Mama, always the curious horticulturist, sowed them in her backyard. From those seeds grew the Miracle Tree, which today is more than 20 years old.

It would be monstrously huge  if the Mama did not cut it back nearly every year. She can't stand the idea of the branches hovering over the roof or even being near the gutters. No matter how much it gets hacked back in the late fall, its branches are full and ready to provide sufficient shade for the summer heat.

During its early years, the Miracle Tree produced a lot of seed pods. Let me repeat: A lot of them. The seeds are flat and shiny and difficult to clean up once they're on the ground. Every year, Miracle Trees sprout some where new in the yard. Most times, the Mama pulls them out.

The Miracle Tree is not its actual name. The Mama and I like to call it that because it grew from a few seeds. We are…

A Sweetheart of an Award

Rhonda at Dizzy Stir  nominated me for the Liebster Award, which is making the rounds to participants in the April 2013 Blogging from A to Z  Challenge.  Thank you, Rhonda!  Like all blogging awards, the Liebster is a way to get readers to discover and explore other blogs that may interest them.  So, I truly appreciate your nomination, Dizzy Stir

The Liebster Award
The Liebster Award has been around since 2010, and over the years the requirements have changed. That's to be expected.  If you're interested in its origin, check out this link

These are today's "rules"for accepting the award. I say "rules" because no one is required nor obligated to do any or all of the following steps to accept the award. 
Post the award on her/his blog. Thankthe nominator and link back to his or her blog.Write  11 random facts about yourself.Answer 11 questions aboutyourself that the nominator has asked.Nominate 11 fellow bloggers participating in the Blogging from A to Z …

A Love Story

I never heard the parents address each other by their names.  They also didn't refer to each other by name when they talked about the other. The Mama would just say lakai which was old man in Ilocano, while the Daddy would say baket for old lady.

For many years, I wondered if they even loved each other. When I became curious about how they met, they said they had an arranged marriage.

The Daddy said, "Your grandmother said she liked the daughter who lived next door for me. 'Okay,' I told her."

The Mama said, "My mother said to marry your daddy. 'He's a good man. You're old. This may be your last chance to marry.'"

Both the Mama and the Daddy lost their fathers at a young age. So, it was their mothers who met and discussed the terms of the dowry. Several weeks later, the Mama and the Daddy were married.

It was not until I went to the Philippines with the Daddy in the early 1970s that I heard the love story.

In 1947, the Daddy, who bec…

Kind of Wonderful

This post was originally entitled "Talking About Sex with the Mama" and was published on June 18, 2010 on my previous blog, This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then.


Yesterday the mama asked me to explain something she was reading in an AARP flyer. It was a short article about what a woman can do about vaginal dryness so that intercourse isn't so painful.
Uh.

The mama is a voracious reader. She likes to learn. Both things I didn't know until the husband and I became her roommates several years ago. English is not her primary language, and I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, her English reading comprehension is about a 4, more or less. She doesn't let complicated or unfamiliar words get her down. If she's interested in a story, she plows through it. If she's really interested in what words mean precisely, she asks me.

So, she asked me. 
Hoo boy.

The mama hadn't even taught me about sex when I a kid. The only instruction I received that…